Morrissey at 3Arena: everything you need to know
Stage times, set list, ticket info and more for his Dublin gig on Tuesday
Morrissey: still relevant?
Amazing as it may be to younger readers, or the unbelievers, there was a time when Steven Patrick Morrissey was lauded as one of Britain’s best-loved living cultural icons. We live in different times, of course, but if you were caught under the spell of The Smiths first time around (1982-87), or even subsequently, across the creative peaks of his solo career (1988 onwards), you might be hard pressed to disagree.
Alongside Morrissey’s music, however, was a personality that no one had witnessed before: a witty, asexual pop star with a fondness for Oscar Wilde, a social outsider who loved pop culture in all of its glorious monochrome, an aesthete who avoided drugs and who shoved flowers into the back pocket of his jeans.
Morrissey was also a naturally funny lyricist, albeit one who had little problem filleting the works of kitchen-sink dramatists such as his fellow Lancastrian Shelagh Delaney – the lyric “I dreamed about you last night, and I fell out of bed twice”, from Reel Around the Fountain, on The Smiths’ debut album, is a direct quote from Delaney’s acclaimed play A Taste of Honey.
When The Smiths fell apart in 1987, Morrissey gathered his fans around him and began a run of well-received albums (including 1988’s Viva Hate and 1994’s Vauxhall and I) that featured songs, Everyday Is Like Sunday and The More You Ignore Me the Closer I Get among them, that were arguably equal to the best of The Smiths.
Gradually, however, the quality of Morrissey’s solo work diminished. Predictability, if not ennui, had set in. It showed in the work and in the artist, so a five-year sabbatical (1998-2003) was not only welcome but necessary.
The second coming of Morrissey began in 2004 with You Are the Quarry, one of the strongest albums in his solo catalogue, but, once again, subsequent albums – including 2006’s Ringleader of the Tormented, 2009’s Years of Refusal and 2014’s World Peace Is None of Your Business – proved to be a series of damp squibs.
The man himself, meanwhile, was slowly turning into a version of an Irish priest just back from 40 years in a part of Africa you had never heard of. His targets were the usual ones – politicians, the monarchy, music critics – while his pontifications and promoted notions – national identity, to name but one – were, to say the least, divisive.
For all of this, however, Morrissey is held by some in inordinately high regard. From being viewed by the writer David Bret as “probably the most intellectually gifted and imaginative lyricist of his generation” to being described by Pitchfork as “one of the most singular figures in western popular culture”, there’s little doubt that he remains exactly that for his fans.
To others he is as redundant a pop-culture figure as M’s dismissal of James Bond – “a dinosaur . . . a relic” – with his comments on politics and multiculturalism derided as the ramblings of an ill-informed, out-of-time narcissist.
It is horses for courses for this most contradictory of songwriters. Although his 2013 autobiography divided reviewers (“the best-written music autobiography since Bob Dylan’s Chronicles” according to the Daily Telegraph but “droning narcissism” according to the Independent), his debut novel, 2015’s List of the Lost, experienced no such balance, picking up a landslide of negative reviews (including John Niven’s New Statesman comment that “asking a decent editor to save this book would have been like asking a doctor to help a corpse that had fallen from the top of the Empire State Building”).
And yet Morrissey’s latest album, last year’s Low in High School, isn’t the worst thing you’ll lend your ears to. It’s as musically adventurous as it is average, but it shows slivers of what made the man so beloved, so vital, all those years ago. There is hope yet. For those who care, that is.
When and where: Tuesday, February 20th, 3Arena, Dublin.
Are there still tickets? Yup. from €69.50, via ticketmaster.ie
What time do the doors open: 6.30pm.
Getting there: The 3Arena is pretty well serviced by a myriad of public transport. The most convenient way to get there is to travel by Luas on the Red Line from the city centre, which will leave you directly at the final stop at the 3Arena. If you have to travel by car be warned that there are traffic restrictions on North Wall Quay and East Wall Road.
Accessible tickets: For special needs, please check the venue information page for details of facilities and companion tickets. Should you require further information please call the Special Needs Hotline. 0818903001 (Rep of Ire) 03333219996 (Nth Ire & UK)
What about security?: Bags will be searched upon entry. Bottles, cans, selfie sticks, large umbrellas, iPads/tablets, video cameras, professional cameras (lens 35mm or more), audio recording devices, Go-Pro, large posters (A3+), large flags on poles, belt chains, laser pointers and anything that can be deemed a weapon are prohibited. So pack light to keep the wait in line as short as possible.
Who’s playing support? There are no support acts, but there is a pre-show video, starting 8.30pm, approximately. These videos are now part of the Morrissey live experience, and usually feature clips of beloved music acts (Ramones, T Rex, New York Dolls, Mott the Hoople, et al) and favoured idiosyncratic writers, artists, poets and actors (the likes of Edith Sitwell, Lypsinka, Andy Warhol).
What Time is Morrissey onstage: 9pm.
What to expect: With Morrissey, you can never be certain, but the US section of this tour, which began in late October of last year, featured a career-spanning 20-plus song show.
Setlist from BHGE Arena, Aberdeen, Scotland, Feb 16th
- You’ll Be Gone (Elvis Presley cover)
- I Wish You Lonely
- I Started Something I Couldn’t Finish (The Smiths song)
- Jacky’s Only Happy When She’s Up on the Stage
- How Soon Is Now? (The Smiths song)
- Munich Air Disaster 1958
- When You Open Your Legs
- Who Will Protect Us From the Police?
- The Bullfighter Dies
- World Peace Is None of Your Business
- The Girl from Tel-Aviv Who Wouldn’t Kneel
- My Love, I’d Do Anything for You
- Hold On to Your Friends
- Back on the Chain Gang (The Pretenders cover)
- If You Don’t Like Me, Don’t Look at Me
- I Bury the Living
- Spent the Day in Bed
- Jack the Ripper
- Everyday Is Like Sunday
- Irish Blood, English Heart